Niles coaches react to moving to Wolverine Conference

NILES — Once the invitational from the Wolverine Conference arrived to join the league, Niles Athletic Director Jeff Upton met with his coaches to break the news.

It was last fall when Upton had a similar meeting with his coaches to discuss the Vikings move into the BCS Athletic Conference for the 2020-21 season. Niles will join the Wolverine Conference in the fall of 2021.

Three of the coaches who will get their first crack at the new competition in the fall of 2021 — Joe Sassano, Jenny Nate and Abel Fonseca — are ready for the challenge.

“I am excited about this opportunity,” said Sassano, who coaches the Vikings football team. “Being in the Wolverine will give us a quality schedule with a 10-team conference. We will have a consistent schedule year after year.”

Nate, who coaches the Niles volleyball team, is already familiar with many of the Wolverine Conference teams.

“We are looking forward to joining the Wolverine,” she said. “It’s great competition, excellent rivalries and closer to home.”

Fonseca has coached in Edwardsburg. The Niles boys and girls soccer coach knows exactly what Niles is going to face.

“The Niles soccer program is very excited to be joining the Wolverine Conference,” he said. “We look forward to the competitiveness of the conference and the new challenges it will bring. Renewing local rivalries is a nice added bonus.”

Niles boys basketball coach Patrick Touhey was looking forward to competing in the BCS, but likes the Wolverine as well.

“Although we were looking forward to being part of the BCS and playing the strong competition it provides, we are just as excited about being part of the Wolverine Conference,” he said. “It will continue to allow us to play very strong competition, with some geographically local teams that create fun rivalry games. I believe our inclusion is a great addition and will be a great lift for our program for the foreseeable future.”

Niles girls coach Jessica Johnson is familiar with the caliber of competition as the Vikings have faced Edwardsburg and Three Rivers for several years as non-conference foes.

“We have had some very close games in recent years with both Edwardsburg and Three Rivers,” she said. “I look forward to facing them both twice a year, along with Dowgaiac and Sturgis, prior to seeing them in the MHSAA tourney.”

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Rotary Club receives grant from District 6360 Foundation

Cass County

Underground Railroad Society of Cass County receives grant

Cassopolis

Cassopolis resident combines love of gardening with giving back

Cass County

COA to host ‘Ice Cream Social Distancing’ events

News

Niles nonprofit offers robotics, sewing summer camps

News

Niles resident works to raise butterflies, educate community

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Union Schools superintendent offers update on reopening plans

Cass County

Niles man sentenced in 2019 shooting incident

Berrien County

Gov. Whitmer signs mandatory mask order

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Elks donate to Saint Francis Outreach

Education

Edwardsburg Public Schools Foundation hosting drive-in movie

Education

Fourth, fifth graders launch rockets during YMCA’s Summer My Way

Cass County

State AG office to handle Diamond Lake Party case

Sports

Big Ten to play conference-only games in seven sports

Edwardsburg

Inaugural Edwardsburg Art Fair Aug. 1

Newsletter Sports

Niles City Golf Tournament registration under way

Berrien County

Gov. Whitmer signs executive directive requiring implicit bias training for health professionals

Buchanan

High Profile Boutique Cannabis to open next week in Buchanan

Dowagiac

Janel’s Industries named one of Michigan’s 50 Companies To Watch

News

Wonderland Cinema to show “The Incredibles” Friday

Newsletter Sports

MIS to host four races without fans in August

Sports

PGA cancels Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup until next year

Buchanan

Fernwood Botanical Gardens offering pop-up weddings

Education

Niles Community Schools hosts annual libraries, adapted for social distancing